FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Behind an incredible offensive output from sophomore Leah Edmond, Kentucky swept Arkansas on the road, 3-0 (25-16, 25-17, 25-23), inside Barnhill Arena on Wednesday night.
“It’s always good to win on the road,” head coach Craig Skinner said. “We came in ready. I thought we made some smart attacking decisions to put a lot of pressure on Arkansas. Ashley (Dusek) and Leah (Edmond) made a great impact tonight, as did Kaz (Brown) blocking.”
With the win, the Wildcats improve to 25-3 and 16-1 in the Southeastern Conference. The Razorbacks fall to 18-11 and 8-9 in the league.
Edmond paced the offense with a 25-point rally scoring era record for three sets with 21 kills in the win over Arkansas. She broke her own record of 19, which she set against Tennessee earlier this season. The Lexington, Kentucky, native hit .452 on 42 swings, and committed just two errors in the win. Edmond also had five digs in the win.
Freshman Avery Skinner hit double-digits for the 19th time this season with 11 kills on 25 swings, while senior Kaz Brown produced eight terminations. Senior Darian Mack chipped in five and senior Emily Franklin joined in with three.
Freshman Madison Lilley had 44 assists tonight and helped thee Cats hit .360 or better. The reigning SEC Freshman of the Year now has 16 matches with 40 or more assists this season. Kentucky recorded 50 kills in the match and committed just nine errors as a team. Four Wildcats had an attacking clip over .300. Lilley chipped in three digs, three blocks and two kills on four attempts as well.
Senior Ashley Dusek recorded 22 digs tonight, her fourth match with 20 or more in her last five. Dusek was two digs short of the three-set record. Nine Wildcats recorded at least one dig, and junior McKenzie Watson had the second-highest total on the team with eight. Freshman Gabby Curry produced five to go along with her two aces, while Skinner had her career high in digs with four.
Kentucky produced six team blocks, and Brown led the way with five including one solo stuff. Lilley had three blocks, while Mack produced two blocks.
UK will be back in action on Friday for a chance at the SEC title. Kentucky will take on Georgia at 5 p.m. on SEC Network.
Skinner grabbed the first kill for Kentucky. After the Hogs answered, UK went on a four point run that included kills from Edmond and Brown to take a 5-1 lead. Teams traded points until Arkansas was able to cut the lead to 7-5 and 8-7. Kentucky pushed its lead back 12-7 with a Mack kill. The Razorbacks fought back to 12-10, but a Brown and Lilley block and back-to-back kills from Edmond gave UK a 15-10 lead in the media timeout. An attack error and a Brown termination forced Arkansas to call a timeout five points into the UK run at 17-10. Out of the break, Edmond had two hammers to go up 19-10, and the Hogs used their last timeout with Kentucky up 21-10 and on a nine-point swing. The Razorbacks scored three out of the timeout. Brown extended the lead to 22-13, and play seesawed until set point, when Mack won the set for the Cats, 25-16. UK hit .425 in the first set, while Lilley recorded 18 assists. Edmond led the way with nine terminations.
Brown delivered the first kill of the set for UK, and Arkansas immediately tied the set. Kentucky proceeded to go on a five point run capped by a Curry ace and Hogs timeout. Curry extended the run with another ace to go up 7-1 before Arkansas went on a run of their own to trim the lead to 7-6. Edmond put the Cats back on track with a hammer. Teams traded points until 12-10, when a Skinner kill and Watson ace gave the Cats a 14-10 advantage. Edmond’s 15th kill of the match put UK up 17-13. Another run from UK, this one three, prompted Arkansas to call a timeout down 20-14. Out of the break, teams went back-and-forth, and then Kentucky pushed out to a 24-16 lead after a Franklin ace and two attack errors. Brown won the set, 25-17, on a kill. Kentucky hit .367 as a team while Edmond led the way with seven kills.
An attack error gave Kentucky the lead, but the set was tied at 1-1 shortly after. The Hogs were able to take a 4-2 advantage after back-to-back aces. Edmond stopped the run, but Arkansas pushed the lead to 6-3. Kentucky fought back and tied the set at 8-8 after back-to-back blocks from Brown and Mack. Neither team could gain a significant advantage and Arkansas took a 15-14 lead into the media timeout. Skinner tied the set out of the media break, and UK took the lead on an attack error. Kentucky was forced to burn a timeout down 20-18, but Edmond’s 20th kill knotted the set up at 20. UK went up 22-20 after an attack error. Arkansas was able to get the UK lead to 24-23, but the Wildcats won on a Skinner termination, 25-23.